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tv   John Mc Laughlins One on One  WHUT  September 2, 2012 11:00am-11:30am EDT

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>> from the editors of cooks illustrated magazine, it's america's test kitchen with your host christopher kimball, featuring test kitchen chefs julia collin-davison, bridget lancaster, becky hays, with adam ried in the equipment corner and jack bishop in the tasting lab. discover the secrets of
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america's foremost food testers and tasters today on america's test kitchen. today on america's test kitchen, julia reveals the secrets to perfect shrimp stir fry. next, jack challenges chris to a tasting of feta cheese. and finally, becky shows chris how to make the ultimate greek shrimp with feta. that's all right here on america's test kitchen. >> america's test kitchen is brought to you by dcs by fisher and paykel. america's cooks rely on innovation and culinary precision. dcs by fisher and paykel, offering premium indoor and outdoor kitchen appliances. robert mondavi understood that sharing good food and wine with family and friends is one of life's true pleasures. woodbridge by robert mondavi, because he believed every table deserves the joy of great wine.
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>> and by diamond crystal salt, the gourmet choice. culinary education at by, an online retailer for the kitchen enthusiast. if it's not in your kitchen, try ours. sunsweet, natural dried fruits and juices to help live a healthier life. from our hands to your table. recipes available at by miracle-gro, the gardener's friend. >> and by kohler. >> okay, let's go buy shrimp. sounds easy? well, it's a little more difficult than most of us think. the first thing is how do they rate shrimp? that is, what do the numbers mean? well, u/10s, these are u/10s right here, that means that under ten of these shrimp will weigh a pound. and little tiny ones, the 61/70s that are right here, that means somewhere between 60 and 70 of these shrimp will weigh a pound. so let's just try this out. these are 21/25s. i have an electronic scale.
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i've tared out the weight of the bowl, that is, i've zeroed it out, and now we'll see if this weighs close to 16 ounces, which it does. now, here's something most people don't know about shrimp, which is most shrimp are frozen immediately after being caught, which means if you go to the supermarket and find them thawed out, well, guess what? the supermarket already bought frozen shrimp and just thawed it, so now you don't know how long it's been sitting around thawed. and these are also almost always deveined and deshelled like this, which means they're kind of broken up and probably not the best quality, so don't buy thawed shrimp. okay, we're going to go for frozen shrimp now. how do you buy those? well, there's a few choices. you can buy five-pound blocks like this. it's not particularly convenient, because you're going to have to cut off part of it, use it, and put them back in the freezer. the best way to buy shrimp are iqf-- individually quick frozen shrimp. they're sold in bags like this. you probably want to look at the ingredient list. this says "shrimp," but it also says "salt." so you just want a bag that says "shrimp." sodium bisulfate is used as a
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preservative, tripolyphosphate is also something that's used to help with water retention. you don't want to look at an ingredient list like that. now one last tip-- about a seventh of all the shrimp sold in this country actually comes from this country. the rest is foreign. the tip is buy american, and why is that? well, a lot of shrimp is pond raised-- old mangrove swamps are cut down, they use pesticides, they use antibiotics, you just don't know about the quality, and that's really a problem. so west coast prawns, for example gulf shrimp, atlantic shrimp, those are all pretty good ideas. one last thing, there is a company called ocean boy which raises hormone free, pesticide free shrimp. it has very small output, but if you can find them, we do recommend them. so now let's go into the test kitchen with julia and find out how to make a very tender shrimp stir fry. so i've done all the hard work. now you know what kind of shrimp to buy. >> oh, you've done the hard
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work? >> all you have to do is cook it. >> nice. >> and i get to watch. >> yeah, mm-hmm. well, speaking of shrimp, we're going to start with the shrimp, and the first thing we learned about shrimp stir fry is we wanted the shrimp to have a little more flavor. when they cook so quickly and they get coated with sauce, it's a little bland. so we're going to marinate them for a little bit, and we're going to marinate them with a tablespoon of vegetable oil just to help lubricate the shrimp and help release the flavor of the garlic and the ginger. now, this is one teaspoon of garlic and a tablespoon of minced ginger. and this is a half a teaspoon of salt, and salt plays a very important role in this marinade, because much like a brine, the salt will penetrate the shrimp and make them stay moist during cooking. all right, so we're going to stir this around and make sure it's nice and evenly distributed, and we're going to let this marinate right at room temperature for about half an hour before we cook them. and of course, with stir fries, they do cook so quickly, but you really want to prep everything before you heat the skillet up. all right, so now we're going to have a little shallot and a little garlic. for this, we're going to slice the garlic thinly. we're also going to slice the
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shallot thinly, and much like an onion, i'm going to, you know, trim off the tip, then cut it in half and then peel it. much easier to peel after you've cut the shallot in half. and one trick i actually learned from a quick tip here is you can leave this little bit attached, and it gives you a nice handle at the end when the pieces get small. i'm going to add this to the garlic, and then i'm going to prep the bell pepper. and one easy way to prep a bell pepper and cut it into uniform pieces is to slice off the top and bottom and then slice down through the side, and then you open it up like a book and you can take out the core and then you can press it flat and carefully trim away the ribs and any seeds. so then you have a nice, even, flat surface that you can cut these into uniform pieces. we're going to do them about three quarters of an inch squares, and then you turn them on their side and you cut them this way. you really want these pieces to be uniform size so that they cook at the same rate, because there aren't long cooking times here. >> you got every last penny out of that red pepper.
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you are the most frugal... >> i am totally frugal. >> i'm impressed. >> i am very frugal. all right, so that's our pepper. and last but not least, we're going to make our sauce and have it all ready to go, because of course, you add it to the skillet at the last minute. it is three tablespoons of sugar, three tablespoons of white vinegar, a tablespoon of ketchup, a tablespoon of sherry, and this is a tablespoon of chili garlic sauce. you can find that, really, in any supermarket nowadays in that international aisle. >> so you got a lot of sweet and a lot of sour, a lot of heat. >> that's right. it's a sweet and sour sauce. this is two teaspoons of toasted sesame oil, two teaspoons of cornstarch, and a teaspoon of soy sauce. we tried a lot of sauces, obviously, when we were develong this recipe, and some of our favorite stir fry sauces are really soy based or hoisin based. works great with meat and chicken, but for the shrimp, it was really pretty overpowering. so we took a nod from chinese cooking that's more authentic and used a... this is a hot and sour sauce or a sweet and sour
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sauce. it's not a lot of sauce, as you can see. this will reduce down and really coat the shrimp well. >> so the shrimp is going to sit for how long again? >> about 30 minutes, and then we'll come back and we'll... we'll whip it together. >> now, meanwhile, i've always wondered why shrimp and, let's say, beef cook very differently when they hit a hot pan. >> yeah, they do. >> the beef doesn't get tough right away, but the shrimp immediately gets tough. so i have a little time. i'm going to go talk to our science editor, guy crosby, and ask him why shrimp and beef actually cook so differently. >> okay, guy, this is a very simple one for you. if you, let's say, stir fry beef, it doesn't get all dried out and hard in a matter of seconds, but if you put shrimp in a really hot skillet, for example, within 30 seconds, it's dry and tough on the outside. so why is shrimp really more delicate than beef? >> chris, it has to do with the difference in the muscle fiber structure of beef versus shrimp. in beef, the muscle fibers are very long and they're covered with lots and lots of connective tissue. in shrimp, they're short bundles and they have very, very little
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connective tissue, so they are much more sensitive. >> connect... what is connective tissue? >> okay... >> sounds obvious, but i don't get it. >> all right, connective tissue is one of the proteins in beef, it's mostly made of collagen, and about 20% or 25% of all the proteins in beef is connective tissue. it acts just like the insulation on a copper or electrical wire. in this case, the connective tissue insulates the muscle fibers from being exposed to heat and from shrinking so much and squeezing out too much moisture. whereas in fish, the short bundles with very little connective tissue, much more delicate, more sensitive to heat, so they shrink at a much lower temperature. we shouldn't cook fish like shrimp any higher than 120 degrees. >> okay, so shrimp protein is short, shrimp protein is naked and therefore, it's very delicate, so you want to use less heat and you also want to cook it fairly quickly. >> yeah, that's exactly right, chris. >> all right, so it's been 30 minutes that our shrimp have been marinating, and of course, we have everything prepped and
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ready to rock. this is a tablespoon of vegetable oil and we put it in this 12 inch nonstick skillet. nonstick is pretty important because you don't want the stir fry to stick, you want it to stir and fry. >> well, it has a lot of sugar in it, so a regular skillet will caramelize it and get sticky. >> that's right. and it... so it'll start to burn. >> right. >> the other thing is the size really matters of the skillet, because you want enough surface area for things to hit the bottom of the pan and actually brown. >> smoking. >> we're smoking, and that's what you look for-- the wisps of smoke before you start cooking. so now we're going to add the vegetables. here's the pepper i just cut up and a half a pound of snow peas. i want to cook them until they get spotty brown, which only takes about a minute and a half or so. and you want to keep these vegetables... you want to let them sit and then move them around a little bit so they all can get a little bit of browning. this skillet is so blistering hot that you can see within just a few seconds you can get some nice browning on something that's otherwise pretty stiff. and that's the reason why you get the skillet so hot, so you can get this browning on a vegetable without overcooking it. these are starting to look good. just another couple seconds
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here. you can see a lot of the beans are starting to get that blistery black look. all right, that's perfect. i'm just going to set these aside. and in our pan, we're going to return to the heat. we're going to add another tablespoon of oil. that's another thing about a lot of stir fry recipes-- they use a ton of fat. now, we're just using two tablespoons of oil to cook all this food, which means the final stir fry won't be so greasy. and so this is the shallot and the garlic that we sliced up. doesn't that smell good? cook this for about 30 seconds until they start to get some browning. >> you know, a lot of stir frys you think are by definition healthy. >> right. >> when you actually look at some of the fat in them, they're not. >> oh, and the sodium. all right, so that's good. you can see they've really started to wilt, and they have that golden brown on them, some of them, which is perfect. so now we're going to turn the heat way down to medium low, which is pretty unusual for a stir fry. but of course, we want to cook the shrimp over low so that they don't get rubbery. now, this also means that the shrimp won't brown, but that's okay. we don't lose out on any flavor of them not being browned,
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because they've been marinated in all this garlic and soy. so again, this will take a minute, minute and a half until they get curled and pink on both sides. we're almost there, just a couple seconds away. >> i get the science. you know, the protein is shorter, and it gets tough faster than beef. but i still miss the noise, that crackle. >> you got it with the vegetables. >> the protein hits the pan, i want some action. >> when the protein hits the pan. >> there's no action here. come on. >> so this is the sauce. we'll rewhisk it to combine to make sure all that corn starch is dissolved. we're going to poach it for a minute or two in the sauce. the sauce will start to bubble and thicken. and again, this is not this, you know, super-soupy sauce that you're going to have extra for the rice. we really wanted a potent sauce that clung to the shrimp and gave it flavor. we're going to turn the heat back up so that it can activate that corn starch, so the sauce thickens. and this takes, you know, about a minute. >> see, i knew the heat was going to come back. >> it'll come back. it's not going to be that... >> oh, there we go. i got... >> you got a little bit of sizzle? you feeling better? >> yeah. >> mmm. and again, this just takes a minute or two. the sauce is going to get really
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thick and nicely coat that shrimp. we're going to stir our vegetables in, and that is it. isn't that pretty? >> it is very pretty. >> yeah. this is good. this is an easy weeknight dinner, you know? i have some nice steamed rice over there. dig in. don't wait for me, yeah. >> mmm. >> shrimp's good, isn't it?beliy good. >> that shrimp is so tender. >> this is phenomenally delicious. so the secret to great shrimp stir fry starts, oddly enough, from the supermarket. and you buy 21/25s, which are quite large. individually quick frozen-- that's the way to go. and then we brined them, used a little salt, a little garlic, a little ginger, and then we did everything backwards. you start sautéing the vegetables, then a little shallot and garlic, and then we add the shrimp back to the pan with the sauce, and then crank the heat a little to get that sauce reduced and have it cling to the shrimp. so there you have it, from america's test kitchen to your kitchen-- a great recipe for a quick and easy shrimp stir fry, red pepper snow peas and a fabulous sweet and sour sauce. >> mm-hmm.
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>> so for this show in particular and this recipe, i've written you a little song. >> you did not. >> yes, i did. it's right here. it goes like this. ♪ mushroom soup casseroles and bad bean burritos ♪ shad row and chitlins and kidneys and fritos ♪ cheese colored shellfish that leaves a grease ring ♪ these are a few of my least favorite things. ♪ look, if you take something nice from the ocean, a nice piece of fish, and then you cover it with something from the back end of a cow, cheese-- sort of the back end-- and you get this. i don't get this concept-- cheese and fish, cheese and fish. well, becky has told me, though, there is one recipe, shrimp saganaki, or greek-style shrimp with feta, which refers to an earthenware baking vessel which is the saganaki. >> mm-hmm. >> they make a sauce, add the shrimp and the feta. i guess it comes from thessoloniki, or pyrrhus. you say it's the exception to
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the rule. >> it's fantastic. and have i ever let you down? >> uh... no. >> all right, then, all right, then. >> is that the right answer? i think that was the right answer. >> and i won't this time. it's a nice weeknight meal, and i know you're going to love it. so we're starting with one and a half pounds of shrimp. these are iqf, or individually quick frozen shrimp that you can find in almost every supermarket. and i'm using the jumbo size. that means there are 21 to 25 shrimp per pound. so these are all peeled and deveined, obviously. so one and a half pounds. i'm going to marinate these for a few minutes while we prepare the sauce for the shrimp. so here's a tablespoon of olive oil, one clove of garlic, minced up, a teaspoon of lemon zest. letting the shrimp sit with these flavors for just, you know, ten or 15 minutes while we make the sauce will really impart a lot of flavor to the shrimp so that they taste great. eighth teaspoon of pepper, quarter teaspoon of salt. now i'm adding ouzo. ouzo is a greek aperitif, and it's going to impart a nice flavor to the whole dish. it has an anise flavor. so if you don't have ouzo you can use pernod. if you don't have pernod you can also use vodka with a little
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pinch of anise seed, and that will give you approximately the same flavor. but it's nice to have ouzo if you can get it. so there's a tablespoon of that, and we'll just mix that together. we'll let those hang out and soak up all those good flavors. so now we'll make a sauce for the shrimp. the shrimp are cooked in a tomato sauce that has peppers and onions and some nice flavors. so here's two tablespoons of olive oil. if you want to give me some medium heat, we'll get that going. i have a small onion i'm going to dice up. now, traditionally this shrimp is cooked in an oven. it's baked. but we did a lot of experimenting, and we found out when you bake the shrimp, the ones around the perimeter get overcooked and tough. so we had better luck cooking the whole thing on the stovetop. that way we can stir it once in a while and control the cooking, make sure it's nice and even. i'm just going to dice the onion up. so in goes the onion. here's a half of red bell pepper that's diced, and a half of a green bell pepper that's also diced. and i'm also adding a quarter teaspoon of salt. salt actually helps to draw out the moisture in the vegetables as they cook, so we like to add it right at the beginning. it helps the vegetables to
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release liquid into the pan. >> yes, exactly. so medium heat. if you want to put the lid on... i mean, you cook vegetables with the lid on like this, it's called sweating. so we're not browning the vegetables, we're just letting their moisture come out. so we're going to let that go for three to five minutes. so it's been five minutes. they're nicely softened. and now we're just going to let them go for about another five minutes with the lid off. so it's been five more minutes, and you can see everything is nicely softened and smells great. now we have four more cloves of garlic, minced up, and a half a teaspoon of red pepper flakes. we'll let this cook for a minute or so. you can really smell the garlic. once you smell it, you know it's time to move on to the next step. so now i have one can of diced tomatoes that i've drained. we tested all kinds of tomato products. we tested fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, and really the canned tomatoes had the best flavor. and the diced type is most convenient. adding a quarter cup of white wine for a little bit of acidity. and this is a third cup of the juice that i drained off of the
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tomatoes. then more ouzo, two more tablespoons. turn the heat up a little bit. so we'll let this simmer for another five to eight minutes. i don't want it to get completely dry, but i do want it to thicken up a little bit and dry off a little of those juices that are there. >> meanwhile i'm going to go chat with jack at the tasting lab about which brand of feta won our tasting. you know, when it comes to a great french cheese like brie or camembert, most of us know something about place of origin or even a brand name. when it comes to feta, i just think greece, so i just go buy feta. that's all i know. that's it. >> well, you're going to learn some more. >> okay. >> but first you're going to have to taste. first thing to know is that obviously it can come from greece, but feta can come from other european countries, or it can be made domestically. traditionally, it's sheep's milk, or it can be sheep's milk with a little bit of goat's milk added. european regulations allow up to 30% goat's milk. in the united states, it's almost never made with sheep's milk or goat's milk. it's made with cow's milk. and you get a completely different cheese, because of course, as you know, goat
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cheeses and sheep cheeses tend to have a sort of barnyardy, floral, sometimes acidic or lemony notes. cow's milk cheeses are very, very bland, relatively speaking, especially if they're not aged. >> that's because goats smell. i mean, they really do smell, just as a side note. i mean, that's why... >> and cows don't smell? >> no, not compared to goats. and there's the reason goat's milk cheese smells, let me tell you. >> so when the domestic manufacturers use cow's milk, they brine the cheese the way it's usually done. they shape the curds into blocks, they slice the blocks, which feta is greek for, slicing, for the word slice. and then they brine it in salt water, so you get a lot of salt flavor in the domestic feta, but you get none of the sort of sheep and goat's notes that you should be getting, none of the barnyard flavors. >> none of the smelly goat flavor. >> well, we really like the smelly flavor. and especially once you start cooking with it, which we did in the greek shrimp dish, if you use the domestic cheeses, they have no flavor whatsoever. and you get creaminess, but you don't get any flavor. and so although this tasting, the domestic cheese were okay,
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they were really awful when we used them for cooking. so it sounds like you have some preferences already. >> yeah, this is, you know, spackle. i mean, you know, like, if you ever need to, like, put some wallpaper up or something, this is great, this is terrific. >> okay. >> this is definitely my favorite. i mean, if you want to go for goat... yeah, i'd go with that. >> all right, you want to... >> well, hold on a second. i'm nervous. wait a minute. more water. it is particularly salty, though. but hold on a second-- let me just make sure. >> all right, all right. take your time. i don't want you to rush into anything. these were all packed in brine, which is another thing to look for when you're shopping. sometimes you see that it's out of the brine, and it's already been precrumbled, or it's in some package that has no liquid. it's a big mistake when you're buying feta. it's going to be much less creamy, less moist, obviously, if it hasn't been shipped in the brine. so in addition to looking for a greek or... we found some french feta that was quite good.
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you want a european feta, you want to make sure you buy something in brine. so this was spackle. >> well, let's start with spackle, then. that's the domestic cheese. we didn't like it. it's 100% cow's milk, no real personality, and you weren't wild about the texture. >> so if you live in new york and it's a little drafty, you can just put that in the cracks. okay, that was my favorite, but let's go to this one. >> this was actually our winner. this is a greek cheese, mt. vikos. it's a combination of sheep's and goat. we thought it had a lot of personality, but it wasn't super aggressive. it was our top choice. >> this was more aggressive. >> more aggressive. this was the second choice. it was our runner up. we liked it quite a lot. it's actually french. it's 100% sheep's milk, which means it's got a little bit more sheepiness, which is the stronger flavor than the goat. and it's got a ton of personality. >> so why did this come in second? they just thought it was too aggressive? >> it was too aggressive. the difference between these and the domestic cheeses was huge. i mean, the biggest thing is to not buy a domestic cheese when you're looking for feta. >> so for once here in the tasting lab, don't buy american. you can travel to greece and get mt. vikos, which is a little bit milder. and if you like something really
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sheepy, a lot of character-- that's what i liked-- you can get the valbreso from france. >> so it's been about five minutes. you can see the sauce has thickened up a little bit. you can see the nice chunks of tomatoes and peppers and onions. looks yummy, right? >> but look, i'm sorry-- there's shrimp and feta coming, you want me to look at the sauce. i want the shrimp. go for the expensive stuff. >> okay, okay. before we add the shrimp we're going to add a little bit of parsley to the sauce. that's two tablespoons, chopped up. time for what you've been waiting for. in go the shrimp. >> don't you think at pyrrhus or someplace like that, when they make it, they have the ouzo bottle and just go wham, just hitting it with it? >> yeah, taking a few swigs here and there. we tried searing the shrimp and then adding them to the sauce late, but this dish is much better when the shrimp cook in the sauce and they can soak up all those nice flavors. so we're going to cook the shrimp for six to nine minutes over medium low heat. i'll stir them occasionally to make sure that they're perfectly cooked. so it's been about nine minutes. let's take a look. ah. >> that looks great. >> doesn't that look fantastic?
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>> yeah. >> shrimp are perfectly cooked. >> yeah, we're done. >> we can turn the heat off. we are not done. it's time to add the feta. >> okay, look-- this is an opportunity to rethink the rest of this dish. you could stop now. >> no way. >> you could take half of it out and put it in a bowl like we do for the kids when you put the hot stuff in at the end. >> right, right. stay with me, stay with me. you came this far. it's going to be great. so here's the feta. we're using six ounces. we're actually using a pretty good amount. i want the cheese to melt into the sauce a little bit. >> in for a penny in for a pound, okay. >> and truly, the brininess of the feta, it's a little bit salty, and the sweetness of the shrimp and the tomatoes, it really makes a fantastic combination. here's a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, just to give it a little oomph at the end. just drizzle that over the top. and then two tablespoons of dill. this is a really nice flavor with shrimp and feta. so you can't tell me that doesn't look wonderful. >> well, a lot of things look good, you know? i mean, it's all about how it tastes. >> okay, let's dish it up. >> all right, all right. >> i know i'm right, you're wrong. this is going to be
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